Hope for our times…

Psalm 27 is described in the New King James Version as “An exuberant declaration of faith. A psalm of David.” Personally, I think the first sentence should be followed by an explanation mark!

Our “times”, those for which we need hope, are becoming ever more chaotic, frightening and dark, and give us good reason to believe we are hurtling towards the end of the age of grace. Jesus is preparing to come for his bride! Yet, however long that may take, God’s faithfulness never changes and brings hope and reassurance to us today, just as it did to David…

The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?

When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.

One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.

For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.

Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.” Do not hide Your face from me; do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; do not leave me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation.

When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take care of me. Teach me Your way, O LORD, and lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies. Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and such as breathe out violence. I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.

Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart. Wait, I say, on the LORD!

Some thoughts on the death of Queen Elizabeth II…

It’s been almost three years since covid struck. I know for myself and many of my friends, we have difficulty placing past events now and can’t remember if they were pre-covid or post covid! I tend to assume that if they were normal, happy events, they were probably pre-covid and try to connect them to other things that were going on so I can identify the year! It’s as though two years of our lives just disappeared into a blur…

And this year there has been talk of war, rising inflation and financial insecurity, the threat of a long cold winter with highly priced fuel and possible power cuts – not exactly business as normal! So, many of us have literally spent the last three years in fight or flight mode. Many of us have lost loved ones or suffered other losses – health, jobs, businesses, disappearing local shops and services that have been part of our communities for years.

With the sudden recent death of Queen Elizabeth II, the British people have now lost the one person who provided a sense of constancy and stability throughout that difficult period. She was in it with us – even to the point of having to sit alone at the funeral of her husband of 73 years…

The majority of people have known her as Queen for their whole lives and, as she got older, she has become like the nation’s much loved grandmother. However, this loss has opened the door to grief and people are sad and crying openly, with no one needing to ask why. Personally, I feel this can do nothing but good for the nation. The “stiff upper lip” of the British people is renowned, but it is healthy to mourn too. I’m sure that for many, it is a relief to have an outlet for ALL that has been lost or has affected us these last three years. The process of going through a period of national mourning and a state funeral will provide a focus and channel to let out much of the stress and sorrow of recent times.

The Queen’s Christian faith sustained her throughout her life and this time will also provide something of a signpost to Jesus. It’s a shame that the Church of England tends to be overly “high” and religious at times like this, but I hope that local vicars and pastors will convey the simple message of salvation to anyone who comes through their doors with questions.

I clearly remember the aftermath of 9/11 and the need for people to express their shock, sorrow and fears for the future. Many churches were open for reflection and to offer support. Though evil acts, and even death itself, are brought about by the presence of the enemy of our souls in this fallen world, the increase of darkness makes the light seem even brighter. I hope and pray that many will turn to the one true King, Jesus, at this time. He is the only one who has all the answers we seek.

He who has the Son…

I’ve just heard of the sad and unexpected death of my son’s friend’s mum from a heart attack. She was about my age and it was a shock! …And it took me back to when my husband died, and the aftermath of that, which has made me feel very emotional…

Carole was a strong Christian believer, as are her adult children who have survived her. I know their Church family will rally round and support them, comfort them, cook for them and take as much weight off their shoulders at this time as they can. Having experienced this myself I know what a blessing it is.

But two things are uppermost in my thoughts today…

1. The painful grief that follows the loss of a loved one. We may know that our person is in the presence of Jesus and rejoice that the challenges and trials of this world no longer trouble them, but we have also lost the presence of someone very dear and important to us, influencial in our day to day life and who has left an indelible imprint of love on our heart. It hurts – deeply. It knocks us for six. It saps our energy. It takes time to heal; sometimes a very long time. That journey now awaits this dear family and I’m so sorry for them, though they will also learn how much they are loved…

2. As believers, we know that one day “God will wipe away every tear from our eyes and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things [will] have passed away.”
Revelation 21:4 NKJV

This IS our comfort, our blessèd hope! All made possible by Jesus’ sacrificial death at Calvary.

I sometimes wonder how people live without Jesus, and how they can also be prepared to die without Him…

1 John 5:12 NKJV
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

This one little verse should strike fear into the hearts of everyone who has chosen to reject Jesus. If you do not have the Son, you do not have LIFE! If only they understood what that means for their eternal future!

So, be open with your unsaved friends and family about who you are in Christ. Pray for them. Everyone will be bereaved or suffer grief at some point in their lives and this is the time we get to be Jesus’ hands and feet in this world; and His voice, speaking His words of love and truth to the lost. ❤

First, the bad news… 😩

Has anybody ever told you that you need to “repent of your sins” to become a Christian? What does that mean exactly?

What is it that is so offensive to God?! Are you supposed to be able to remember every little thing you’ve ever said, thought or done that may have upset Him and sincerely repent of it or can you just do an en masse “I’m sorry for everything I’ve ever done!”? If you forget even one single offence, does that make you unacceptable to God?

And even if you can repent of everything and ask Jesus to save you and be Lord of your life, what if you slip up again? What if you then think or do something you shouldn’t have, in spite of your best efforts? Does that mean you are back to square one and your salvation has been lost again? It’s all a bit difficult to understand – an impossible situation to navigate! It’s just too hard! And, if it’s so hard to be saved, how could you possibly believe that God loves you unconditionally?!

What does REPENT even mean? To be on your knees, full of sorrow and bitter self loathing for how truly awful you are…??!!!

Well, just hold it right there for a moment and take a deep breath.. This is why the gospel is called the GOOD NEWS!

You CAN come to Jesus – just as you are – struggling, sinful, separated from God. He knows you better than you know yourself! Let’s face it, if you could clean yourself up by just reciting a long list of your faults and failings, you would not have need of a Saviour!

The English dictionary definition of “repent” is to feel or express sincere regret or remorse about one’s wrongdoing or sin. (Sin means missing the mark as an archery term!)

The biblical definition of repent from Strong’s Concordance (a book which explains word meaning from the original text and language) in the new testament is:

Greek: μετανοέω
Transliteration: metanoeō
Pronunciation: met-an-o-eh’-o
Definition: From G3326 and G3539; to think differently or afterwards that is reconsider (morally to feel compunction): – repent.

And in the old testament is:

Hebrew: נחם
Transliteration: nâcham
Pronunciation: naw-kham’
Definition: A primitive root; properly to {sigh} that {is} breathe strongly; by implication to be {sorry} that {is} (in a favorable sense) to {pity} console or (reflexively) rue; or (unfavorably) to avenge (oneself): – comfort ({self}) ease [one´ s {self]} repent ({-er} {-ing} self).

And also:

Hebrew: שׁוּב
Transliteration: shûb
Pronunciation: shoob
Definition: A primitive root; to turn back ({hence} away) transitively or {intransitively} literally or figuratively (not necessarily with the idea of return to the starting point); generally to retreat;

So you can see there is a whole general sense of stopping, sighing, reconsidering, turning away from; as well as being sorry… A whole attitude change!

So, firstly, see your need! Know that humans exist in a fallen world where all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God! (See Romans 3) There is no real peace to be found in this world, no hope for the future beyond what we try to make for ourselves, and we are all destined to die… and then what?!! There is so much to question about the human condition! But at the end of the day, our biggest problem is pride, just like Lucifer… It takes humility to admit that you need someone to rescue you.

The bible says…
John 3:16-17 NKJV
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. [17] For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

That sounds promising! So for you not to be condemned, and not to perish, is why Jesus came, so that through Him the world – and YOU – might be saved!

What do you have to do to be saved then?
Know and admit you have need of a Saviour and believe that Jesus is that Saviour! He is the only one who can save you.

Believe there is a God who knows everything about you, who loves you anyway and wants to have a relationship with you. You are not beyond hope! Jesus made a new covenant, a new agreement, with Father God on our behalf. Adam broke the relationship, but Jesus came to restore it!

Because, through Adam, all of mankind now belongs to the family line that was messed up, we needed someone to stand for us who was not of that bloodline, someone who had always loved the Father and been in a perfect relationship with Him. Jesus fulfilled that quality, but needed to become like us in order to represent us – humankind – so He was born as a human.

There is nothing we need to DO or even can do, but simply believe in Him, who He is and what He has done for us by giving Himself in our place and taking the punishment that we all deserve for rejecting God. The repentance is tied in with believing, because until we have revelation of who Jesus is and become “born again” – indwelt by the Holy Spirit – we can never really turn away from our sinful nature and the path we were walking in our own strength. Repentance is a heart change.

So, if you do not know Jesus, I can assure you that HE knows YOU! He loves you, He longs for you to see Him and say, “Jesus! Save me!” Someone once told me that they would never ask Jesus to die for them and could therefore not accept His sacrifice as being made on their behalf. But if you were homeless and freezing on the roadside, would you reject the offer of a blanket and a hot drink just because you didn’t buy them yourself, or would you receive them with gratitude to the one who cared enough to stop and give them to you?

God’s grace is freely given to us in the name of Jesus. Don’t let pride or misunderstanding get in the way of your eternal future!

No king but Caesar…?

John 19:15-16 NKJV
But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!” Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led Him away.

This is what the world is doing right now. It rejects Jesus as King and willingly and, in vehement opposition, eagerly agrees to submit to the enemy. Only those whose eyes have been opened by the Holy Spirit can see who Jesus really is.

Compare this spiritual blindness to the physical blindness of the man whom Jesus healed…

John 9:1-5 NKJV
Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

And He told his followers…

Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV
You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

When Jesus raptures his Bride, the light will be gone. While we still have a window of opportunity, pray for those you know who aren’t yet saved! Share Jesus where you can and tell people what He has done for YOU! Do not hide your light under a basket! Your testimony is powerful and time is short..!

There is no fence…

Many years ago I was roundly criticised by a fellow Christian for wondering whether Princess Diana was in heaven. “Of course she is!” I was scolded. “She was such a wonderful person and did so much good!”

Now, whilst it’s not for me to say whether her name is written in the Book of Life – only God knows that – being good, doing good works, being popular, kind, beautiful, generous .. NONE of these things makes us righteous in God’s eyes. Only believing in the risen Christ Jesus and His finished work on the cross can gain us entry into heaven.  We must have faith!

Romans 3:10,23 NKJV
As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; [23] for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

John 3:16 NKJV
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:18 NKJV
“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Romans 10:4 NKJV
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

John 14:6 NKJV
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

I very much hope that Diana is in heaven, but what I do know is that there is no fence to sit on, no grey areas in the gospel. It is abundantly clear; you’re either saved or unsaved. The ONLY way to the Father is through Jesus. He came to save us! That was His mission! If there was another way, would he have come to Earth just to die in agony?!! No! There is nothing we can do, not one single thing we can say, that will put us in right standing with the Father. Without Jesus we remain separated from God for all eternity.

Like Princess Diana, we cannot know when some unexpected event may end our Earthly existence in an instant, no more time to decide… which is why it is imperative that you believe in Jesus right now! No special prayer is needed, just tell Him from your heart that you believe He is who He said He was and you want Him to save you! He knows if you mean it; if you truly want Him. You don’t need to use special words – or indeed any spoken words at all! What if you were physically unable to speak? Would that mean you couldn’t be saved? Of course not!

1 Samuel 16:7b NKJV
…for the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

No one is guaranteed tomorrow. I beg you, please don’t wait one minute longer! Choose Jesus now, before it’s too late!